Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wrap it up already - End of the Year Thoughts

It snuck up on me. I'll admit it. Last I remember it was just after Spring Break and I was refreshed, renewed, and ready.... ish.

So, this blog post is set to go alongside our last podcast of the year. You can listen to it here (or anywhere you get your podcasts). Knowing that, I'll skip the things mentioned in that podcast and focus on a few things I didn't get to discuss really.

Every year I consider the things I've done and the things I would like to do differently.

So, what did I do this year? Honestly, the best place to start is my Twitter. I tried to tweet out what my IVs did as often as possible. But, here's a general overview :)

  1. Adventures gone wrong - We read about Psyche, Orion, Ursa Maior, feles et Venus, and Icarus. Students discussed human qualities, virtues, and mistakes. 
  2. Rebellion - We focused on women mostly, but we dove deep into this. Students learned the history of Rome including the kings, invasion of Britain, invasion of Masada. We also discussed the role of women, the assault of women, and colonisation. 
  3. Food - To finish the year, we talked about food. I hit the points needed about Roman food, but we really focused on the foods we love and have history with. Students brought their favourite foods and wrote recipes in Latin. 

This year I also focused on community. We did brain breaks, held each other accountable, and implemented a 5 minute check in each day, and were honest with each other. I met with my cogen group each Friday to make class better.

So, when considering next year.... I knew I wanted to continue on this trend of community, but make it even better.


A slight detour?

Last week, our neighbours brought to us a tiny kitten. She came to us shivering, covered in fleas, with worms, and without a meow. She wasn't more than 6 weeks old. So, we did what we could. We gave her a bath, dewormed her, wrapped her in a warm blanket, and started her on infant formula and kitten food. By day 3, she had started to come out of hiding and trusted us enough to eat in front of us. By day 5... she had her meow (and knew how to use it), had learned the litter box, and had started to play. 

Generally, she cannot be around our other animals because she isn't vaccinated yet and needs to grow a bit more before she can play with the others... She is also feral. She's never been inside a house, neither had her mother, and she knew nothing of the human world, except to avoid it at all costs. So, every day, one of us wraps her up and carries her through the house as we do chores. She experienced making coffee yesterday (as an example). We make it fun... we feed her on a variety of surfaces, play with her while we do other things, and let her crawl on us to get a better view of whatever we are doing. To her... it's a game, but to us... she is learning vital skills. 

She is learning how to interact with other animals and humans in an appropriate way. She is learning boundaries and how to respect them. She is learning self care and self defence. 


And so... THIS is my focus next year: play. I don't know how it will all work out, but I want to have fun next year as much as possible. I want kids to leave smiling every day, as often as possible. I want kids to walk in, even if they've had a bad day, and know that they are in a safe place where they will be able to enjoy what we do. 

We've already taken steps for this:
  • FVR - free voluntary reading
  • Student Choice in activities and topics we read
  • using a variety of CI activities that allow students to move at their own pace, or move at all, etc. 
  • brain breaks
So, what changes am I making?
  • Getting rid of timed writes - I am making a move to free writes. No more timing. 
  • FVR changes - I don't know exactly yet... but I want to make it more free and more fun
  • Sensory corner - I plan to have a corner of supplies, and sensory materials for students who need them
  • outside time - I want to do more outside. I want to play with chalk. I want to go on walks. I want to MOVE
  • more stuffed animal time
These are just ideas, but I am really glad I've chosen this focus. Watching Mian (the kitteh) learn how to cat is inspiring and I love watching her grow.... I want the same for my students.